Grand National: Moore and McManus plan Wylde Irish party

Sue Montgomery expects a nation's 22-year-old drought to end in the National

It is exactly 150 years since a gelding called Matthew became the first of only 16 Irish-trained winners of the Grand National. And if victory for a horse from Ireland would be appropriate next Saturday, then for Wylde Hide it would be doubly so. For he is trained by Arthur Moore, whose father Dan sent out the last of the heroes from the Emerald Isle, L'Escargot in 1975.

A former Irish amateur champion as a rider, 45-year-old Moore, based near Naas in Co Kildare, is no stranger to success in Britain as a trainer - he described Klairon Davis's victory in the Champion Chase at Cheltenham last year as the best moment of his career - but has yet to see one of his Grand National runners finish. The best of his previous six was Wylde Hide himself, who was just beginning to creep into the reckoning last year when he unseated Francis Woods at the second Canal Turn.

In the past week the lightly raced 10-year-old, owned by the legendary Irish punter J P McManus, has been significantly backed to make amends. His season has been quietly geared to another tilt at the Aintree marathon; he has raced only three times this term, producing an eye-catching performance second time out at Leopardstown in December when he ran New Co to a length in a three-mile Grade Two contest, giving him 10lb, with Time For A Run, in receipt of 12lb, eight lengths behind. Back at Leopardstown earlier this month the son of Strong Gale showed himself in good heart with a front-running success from lesser opposition.

His jumping is sound, he stays well, seems still to be on the upgrade, will act on good ground or softer, and, once the jockeys' pre-National carousel stops spinning, may have the valuable assistance of the Irish champion Charlie Swan, seeking his first National win, in the saddle.

One of the features of this year's race is the effect the presence of the top-weight Master Oats has had on the handicap. The 1995 Gold Cup winner, now seemingly a light of other days, will only run if the ground is soft, but unless he is withdrawn at tomorrow's or Thursday's declaration stages the weights will remain as they are, with only 10 other horses racing off their correct marks above the minimum 10st. Wylde Hide, rated on 9st 13lb, the present favourite Lord Gyllene (9-13) and even Go Ballistic (9-8), are relatively kindly affected, but others further down the list are so "wrong" at the weights as they stand at the moment that they will surely struggle. But if the weights rise, the race would take on a different complexion with a horse like Time For A Run, trained for McManus by Eddie O'Grady, meriting respect.

Suny Bay is another who would have to buck a long-standing trend, bidding as he is to become the first grey to score since Nicolaus Silver in 1961. An eight-year-old by Roselier, he has always been highly regarded by his trainer, Charlie Brooks, but is a fragile individual, prone to breaking blood-vessels.

But he has won all bar one of his completed outings, and was enormously impressive when producing an immaculate round of jumping to trounce Into The Red and St Mellion Fairway (a runner in tomorrow's Irish National) at Haydock in February, and if anyone can nurse him round a gruelling four and a half miles, Jamie Osborne can. Owned by Brooks's landlord, Robert Cohen, he is one of several whose presence is dependent on cut in the ground.

In recent years classy horses who have run well in the Gold Cup have been thereabouts in the National, notably last year's winner Rough Quest. The Cheltenham form is represented this year by Go Ballistic, who stayed on tremendously well to take fourth place and already has an Aintree link, for his owner Sheila Lockhart was named after the 1948 winner Sheila's Cottage. He will be a first National runner for his trainer, John O'Shea, but his rider, Mick Fitzgerald, will be trying to emulate Bryan Marshall (Early Mist 1953, Royal Tan 1954), the last to score in successive years on different horses.

Lord Gyllene, a top novice in New Zealand, emerged as a live candidate once he was tried over extreme trips this season, a winning run of three culminating in victory in the four mile, two furlong National Trial at Uttoxeter. The nine-year-old, trained by Steve Brookshaw (whose late uncle Tim was paralysed in a fall at Aintree in 1963), lost little caste when defeated under top-weight over the same course and distance two weeks ago, but may find a few too quick.

Lo Stregone, favoured by cut, will stay every yard, though probably not fast enough. The quirky Challenger Du Luc will either love it or hate it, but if the course shocks him into doing his best he has a touch of class. Jenny Pitman can never be under- estimated at Aintree, and Smith's Band looks her best hope.

This year's race, the world's most valuable steeplechase at pounds 250,000- added, does not look a vintage renewal. Wylde Hide can bridge a 22-year generation gap and take the prize back to Ireland.

Fences to be taken into consideration

1st fence: Bishops Hall, running in his third National on Saturday, has yet to get beyond the first obstacle. He fell in 1995 and unseated his rider last year.

3rd (Westhead): The first of five open ditches and even horses with Aintree experience can have trouble with it. Party Politics, the 1992 National winner, fell here last year.

6th (Becher's Brook first time): The most notorious but, since being modified, has proved less troublesome. No horse has departed here in the last two years.

7th (Foinavon): At 4ft 6in, the smallest on the course. And, although L'Escargot almost fell at the fence on his way to winning in in 1975, the obstacle has caused relatively little trouble since the horse who gave the fence its name profited from the 1967 pile-up.

8th (Canal Turn first time): Field takes a 90 degree left-hand turn upon jumping this obstacle.

9th (Valentine's Brook): An only slightly paler imitation of the daunting Becher's.

11th (Booth): The second open ditch.

15th (The Chair): At 5ft 2in, the highest with an open ditch wide enough to drive a car through but, another which has claimed no casualties in the last two years.

19th (Westhead second time round): Fourth open ditch.

22nd (Becher's Brook second time): In 1985 West Tip - heavily backed and carrying less weight than when winning the race the following year - was cantering in the lead when falling at this obstacle.

24th (Canal Turn second time): The bogey fence for both Wylde Hide and Son Of War last year. Both horses unseated their riders at this obstacle in 1996.

25th (Valentine's Brook second time)

27th (Booth second time): Fifth and final open ditch.

Montgomery's first four

1 Wylde Hide

2 Suny Bay

3 Time For A Run

4 Go Ballistic

Longshot: Feathered Gale

Sport
Premier League Live
footballLIVE Follow all the Premier League action as it happens
Life and Style
3D printed bump keys can access almost any lock
gadgets + echSoftware needs photo of lock and not much more
News
The slice of Prince Charles and Princess Diana's wedding cake and the original box from 29 July 1981
newsPiece of Charles and Diana's wedding cake sold at auction in US
News
James Argent from Towie is missing, police say
peopleTV star had been reported missing
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Gregg Wallace in Summer's Supermarket Secrets
tv All of this year's 15 contestants have now been named
News
i100(and it's got nothing to do with the Great British Bake Off)
Arts and Entertainment
Inside the gallery at Frederick Bremer School in Walthamstow
tvSimon Usborne goes behind the scenes to watch the latest series
Life and Style
A picture taken on January 12, 2011 shows sex shops at the Paris district of Pigalle.
newsThe industry's trade body issued the moratorium on Friday
Arts and Entertainment
Could we see Iain back in the Bake Off tent next week?
tv Contestant teased Newsnight viewers on potential reappearance
Life and Style
Silvia says of her famous creation: 'I never stopped wearing it. Because I like to wear things when they are off the radar'
fashionThe fashion house celebrated fifteen years of the punchy pouch with a weighty tome
News
i100
Voices
The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat
voicesNigel Farage: Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012
film Cara Delevingne 'in talks' to star in Zoolander sequel
Sport
Mario Balotelli pictured in his Liverpool shirt for the first time
football
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Clinical Negligence Solicitor

Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: HAMPSHIRE MARKET TOWN - A highly attr...

Network Engineer (CCNP, CCNA, Linux, OSPF, BGP, Multicast, WAN)

£35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Network Engineer (CCNP, CCNA, Linux, OSPF,...

Commercial Property Solicitor - Bristol

Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: A VERY HIGH QUALITY FIRM A high qual...

DevOps Engineer (Systems Administration, Linux, Shell, Bash)

£50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: DevOps Engineer (Systems Administration, L...

Day In a Page

Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone